Coincheck – one of Japan’s largest digital currency exchanges – pledged to provide a partial refund to the roughly 260,000 users affected by the theft on its platform. Reports vary on the how much NEM, a type of cryptocurrency, the hackers snatched from the exchange, with estimates ranging from $400 million to $530 million.
Japan’s financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), on Monday ordered the exchange to improve business operations following the illicit transfer, Coincheck announced in a blog post. The FSA ordered Coincheck to investigate the incident, submit a written report, provide proper support to customers, and strengthen and develop new methods to prevent future thefts. The agency gave the exchange a Feb. 13 deadline to comply. The FSA also sent a notice to the country’s virtual currency firms, warning them of further possible cyberattacks.
The theft could be the biggest cryptocurrency heist on record, possibly bypassing the estimated $400 million bitcoin lost in the 2014 Mt. Gox heist. It comes after leaders at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland last week issued warnings about the dangers of cryptocurrencies and the money being used for illicit activities. U.S.-based platforms for bitcoin and other virtual currencies must comply with anti-money laundering rules, with around 100 such platforms registered with the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The rules require them to file reports on suspicious financial activity. But many other countries have no such requirements.